What if a Ritz-Carlton executive ran your hospital?

| June 3, 2010

What if a Ritz-Carlton executive ran your hospital?

June 2nd, 2010

By Wendy Johnson

If you've ever been lucky enough to stay at the Ritz, you've experienced their first-rate customer service, attention to detail, inviting atmosphere, unique gift shops and scrumptious food. Could such luxurious pampering and quality translate over to the hospital environment?

It could, and it does. Bill Taylor, cofounder of Fast Company magazine, blogs for the Harvard Business Review about Henry Ford West Bloomfield, a suburban Detroit hospital that's run by former Ritz-Carlton executive Gerard van Grinsven.

It "truly must be seen to be believed," Taylor writes. The newly built hospital has 300 private patient rooms to which patients are immediately assigned upon admission. Why waste their time in the lobby filling out forms?

It also features an atrium with 2,000 live trees; a menu designed by a hot-shot chef; a concierge to assist frazzled loved ones; weekly classical concerts and a 90-seat demonstration kitchen where patients and family members can learn tips on preparing healthy meals.

It's so glam, in fact, that the hospital is hosting its first wedding next month.

If your first reaction is skepticism and even a bit of eye-rolling, you're not alone. Grinsven's ideas weren't exactly welcomed by Motor City's healthcare establishment. Sure, private rooms are great in theory, but how can a hospital maximize revenue that way? What the heck did this guy know about running a hospital?

Turns out, Grinsven's experience was more applicable to healthcare than most folks imagined. Though private rooms appear to be a fancy luxury, they actually save money in the long run: "They significantly reduce rates of infection in the hospital and add to the personal privacy of patients," he told Taylor.

You can read the full interview and article at the HBR Blog.

Wendy Johnson is the publisher of FierceHealthcare and a longtime healthcare journalist. She can be reached at wjohnson@fiercemarkets.com.

Category: Pathology News

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